Merlino & Gonzalez November 2018

November 2018




3 GENERATIONS, 2 HOMES, 1 FAMILY How John Merlino Helped Us Secure the Perfect Property

Many people dread seeing their in-laws during the holidays, but I feel just the opposite. In fact, Frank and I lived across the street from his parents for the past eight-plus years, and we loved every second of it. Frank’s dad, also named Frank, had heart-transplant surgery 18 years ago, followed by a kidney transplant five years ago. His wife, Jean, provided the donor kidney. Talk about commitment and caring! We view every day with them as a blessing and cherish every second together. This year, we decided that across the street wasn’t close enough and chose to find an arrangement that would let us be even closer to each other. When we were renovating our last house, we lived with Frank’s parents for two months, so we knew proximity wouldn’t be an issue. When we found two properties that were initially built to house multiple generations, it was just what we were looking for. The only question was if we would secure them both. John Merlino was instrumental in helping us achieve that goal. It was a very complicated transaction — two sales and two purchases, all happening simultaneously — and John handled it with ease. We were so impressed with him and the entire team at Merlino & Gonzalez. A dear friend of ours, who also happens to be an attorney, recommended John, so we expected big things. Even still, he delivered beyond our wildest expectations. Some attorneys will meet you for a consultation and then shuttle you off to

assistants for the rest of the process. Not John — he responds promptly and keeps you informed every step of the way. Buying a home is stressful; buying two is doubly so. To have an attorney who cares about you and shepherds you through the process makes all the difference in the world. We’ve been so impressed with Merlino & Gonzalez that Frank (the younger Frank) and I are in the process of working with Ken Gonzalez on our estate plan. Now that we’ve signed the papers on our dream homes, we’re excited to put our personal stamp on them. We’re currently renovating our new home, and while it’s Frank’s parents who live closest, my folks have also been pivotal in the process. My mom has been leading the way when it comes to interior design. She’s created design boards with her ideas, and the contractors have been impressed with her vision. My dad’s unfailing emotional support and positive attitude have also been a huge boost. We hope to have the renovations ready for Thanksgiving. If not, it won’t be hard to decide who’s hosting. Moving into our new homes is a chance to reflect on how our lives have changed over the past decade. When we bought our last house, we were just starting a family and relied on Frank’s parents for help, guidance, and advice. Now, we have two wonderful boys, ages 9 and 6, and we’re doing the bulk of helping out. I guess that’s just the circle of life, and it gives us great joy to repay Frank’s parents for all they’ve done for us over the years. To have three generations living as a unit is a pleasure far too few people get to experience these days. We consider ourselves among the lucky ones. When we sit down to turkey this year, whether it’s at our place or theirs, you can bet we’ll give thanks for our new homes. Part of that gratitude undoubtedly goes to John and the wonderful team at Merlino & Gonzalez. Thank you for bringing our family even closer together.

–Nicole Piccolo

Nicole (second left) enjoying time with her family



THANKSGIVING PREP FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY ROLL OUT THE DECORATIONS Still not talking about bread. Not everything in Thanksgiving preparation needs to be tied to the kitchen. Creative family members of all ages can work together to bring some seasonal flare to the dining room. Maybe this means picking up some Thanksgiving coloring books, or perhaps the family can venture outdoors to collect autumn trimmings for crafts. It’s a great way to let each family member put their own personal spin on the holiday! HAVE A ‘ROLLER DERBY’ Finally. While an adult should be the one to put these delicious baked goods in the oven, the whole family can help shape the dough. In fact, recommends making this a contest. Set aside a time when everyone can vie for the title of Fastest Roll Maker, and you’ll have plenty of warm, flaky, delicious treats come dinnertime. Letting everyone play a part may take a little more planning and add slightly more chaos to your Thanksgiving preparations. But it’s sure to produce a lot of great memories and bonding moments among your loved ones. And by the time you sit down to eat, you’ll all have something to be thankful for right in front of you — Those. Delicious. Rolls. The Great War that ravaged Europe resulted in a devastating loss of life, but from those ashes rose a renewed appreciation for the importance of peace and a global effort to ensure its place in the future. THE RESTORATION OF PEACE In 1918, Germany surrendered unconditionally, and the armistice ended the fighting at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, though the war did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles the following July. An estimated 16 million soldiers and civilians died in just four years, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in modern history. VETERANS DAY Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day was first observed on Nov. 11, 1919, to honor the one-year anniversary of the armistice, and it became a U.S. holiday in 1938. Today, Veterans Day celebrates veterans who served their country honorably. The U.K., France, Australia, and Canada also commemorate their veterans in November. If you know a veteran, thank them for their service this month. younger siblings and cousins in these important tasks and may be called upon to stir what’s on the stove while an adult checks on the football game.

Thanksgiving is more than just a feast; it’s about coming together as a family and being thankful for one another. So why wait to get into the spirit until everyone is seated at the table? Here are a few ways you can make the actual preparation of Thanksgiving dinner fun and engaging for the whole family! GIVE EVERYONE A ROLE No, not those rolls — yet. Making the feast a family project can turn the day from a hectic list of chores into a magical bonding experience. It’s important to match each family member to a job that best fits their abilities. Young children can mash potatoes or rinse ingredients in the sink. Older kids can take on more responsibility, like measuring ingredients, keeping an eye on timers, and setting the table. Teens and young adults can supervise their

A HISTORIC VETERANS DAY Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I

This year, Veterans Day takes on particular historic significance: Nov. 11, 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Countries around the world will commemorate the signing of this peace agreement with moments of silence, centennial ceremonies, and historical exhibits. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day is a celebration of life. It’s a day to honor the power of peace and the living veterans across the globe who have served their countries. This November, take a moment to remember the war that helped shape the international community’s dedication to peace and thank the individuals who served to defend it. THE GREAT WAR By 1914, a world war had been years in the making, but the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by a Serbian nationalist provided the spark that would eventually burn down much of Europe. A chain reaction of land disputes, pre-emptive attacks, and strategic alliances brought over 30 countries into World War I.



What do Aretha Franklin, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and Pablo Picasso have in common? Well, for one, they’re among the most talented and accomplished artists of the 20th century. In addition to that shared quality, all four of these icons died without wills. When somebody passes away well before their time, like Hendrix, it’s easy to understand the lack of estate planning. But in the case of the Queen of Soul — who was fabulously wealthy, well into her 70s, and sick with cancer — we can only speculate as to why she never got around to writing a will. The truth is that people put off estate planning for all sorts of reasons. Some of us believe that we’re too young to need a will and that it’s something we don’t have to think about for another few decades. Others assume that estate planning is only for the megarich and celebrities. Both of these ideas are completely false. As soon as you have assets and a family, anything or anyone worth protecting, it’s time to start considering creating a will, powers of attorney, health care proxies, and other important estate planning documents.

Even people who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they should be engaged in estate planning can end up ignoring it for far too long, and sometimes until it’s too late. And hey, we get it. It can be difficult to think about who will take care of your children in the event of your death. Similarly, deciding who will receive which portions of your estate can involve fraught choices bound to upset people you love. We can promise you, however, that making these tough choices now is a lot kinder than leaving a tangled mess of an estate with no directions on how to distribute it. A comprehensive estate plan will allow you to avoid probate and allocate your assets more quickly, privately, and inexpensively. It is one of the best things you can do for your loved ones, and the team at Merlino & Gonzalez is happy to help guide you through any part of the process. Call us today to find out how we can help.


take a break


• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt • 3/4 cup sugar • 1 carrot, peeled and diced • 1 large onion, peeled and diced • 1/4 cup celery, diced • 2 large sprigs thyme • 2 bay leaves • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)


1. In a large stock pot, bring salt, sugar, and 4 cups water to a boil. Stir until all ingredients are dissolved. 2. Turn off heat and add remaining ingredients. Place brine in the fridge, uncovered, until cold. 3. Add 6 quarts cold water to brine. Add turkey and submerge completely. Brine chilled for up to 72 hours.

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Home Isn’t Home Without Family Let Kids Play a Role This Thanksgiving A Historic Veterans Day Why So Many Celebrities Die Without a Will A Simple Brine for Succulent Turkey 3 Movie Locations to Captivate Your Eyes

Why Watch the Film When You Can See it With Your Own Eyes? 3 FAMOUS MOVIE LOCATIONS YOU NEED TO VISIT

Movies captivate audiences partially because of their ability to transport you to a different place. The heart yearns to be taken places, and cinema facilitates that journey. But what if you could immerse yourself in those fantastical worlds by visiting the destinations that you’ve seen on the big screen? Here are three places that are worth the trip. HOBBITON The only aspect of “The Lord of the Rings” that is more compelling than the fantastical journey of Frodo is the alluring, untamed countryside and quaint towns that make up Middle Earth. The Green Dragon Inn, Bilbo’s house, and the rolling hills of New Zealand make for a backdrop that will transport you straight into the life of Middle Earth’s smallest people — only these houses aren’t small at all. And you don’t need large, hairy feet to enjoy them.

CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL Harry Potter captured the imagination of the world. There are multiple sites across the United Kingdom where you can get lost in the adventure that shaped a generation, but there is one spot at the top of almost every fan’s list. Hogwarts is a magic castle in J.K. Rowling’s books, but in real life, its film location is a functioning cathedral in Oxford. Take one step onto the grounds of Christ Church Cathedral, and you might begin to wonder when the next Quidditch match will begin. TIKAL NATIONAL PARK When George Lucas witnessed a poster of this famous archeological site, he didn’t see an ancient culture — he saw Yavin IV, the perfect location for the Massassi Outpost, a rebel haven found in the first film of Star Wars. Though the movie paints a futuristic look at the region, walk through Tikal National Park, and you’ll experience it as a trip through history. 4

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